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Sensory Exploration for Young Children | Sensory Play Activities for Kids Development

By Suzanne Hieke|3 - 4 mins| November 24, 2022

Sensory play is vital to a child’s early development, here we have discussed few sensory activities for Kids and toddlers. “Between the years of three and six, the child develops his senses. He is attracted more by stimuli than by reason. He should, therefore be methodically exposed to stimuli that will develop his senses.” (The Discovery of the Child; Maria Montessori)

Sensory play is critical to children’s brain development as it helps to build nerve connections in the brains pathways by encouraging children to use their senses to formulate conclusions.

Young children learn about their environment through sensory play. Exploring through touch promotes questioning and investigation as children reach their own conclusions through exploration. Sensory materials offer the opportunity to discover by touching, seeing, tasting, hearing, and smelling. A strong sensory skill set nurtures confidence and an understanding of the world.

Sensory play lays a solid foundation for the child’s understanding of their immediate environment as well as the larger world around them. Sensory activities create an environment where children can learn through the exploration of materials.

Sensory bin exploration is a fun, hands-on way to encourage children to learn through creative play. To create a sensory bin any large container works well. A plastic container such as a large flat sweater box is ideal as you can replace the lid at the end of play.

Many different materials can be used in the creation of a sensory bin such as sand, rice, dried beans, lentils, pasta, shredded paper, or coffee grinds. Kids love to scoop, stir, and pour. Adding scoops, spoons, beakers, bowls, funnels, or small pots encourages investigative and creative play. Hide small objects in the sensory tub for the children to discover such as erasers, animals, or shapes.

Ooblek, salt clay, and sensory snow are easy to make sensory activities for kids and young children.


Ooblek is neither a liquid nor a solid (it is a suspension). You can pick it up and mould it. But it also flows back into the shape of its container.

Learn how to make Ooblek?

  • Step 1 : Pour 1 cup of corn flour into a bowl.
  • Step 2: Slowly add 1/2 cup of water and stir to combine. you have to mix it thoroughly.
  • Step 3: You can Add a little more water to alter the consistency.
  • Step 4: Mould and create shapes with the ooblek

Alternative: You can also Add food colouring to make coloured ooblek. You can Add lemon juice or vanilla essence to add an odour to the ooblek. You have to do these at the mixing stage.

Cinnamon salt clay

Ingredients required:

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup of normal salt
  • 1 tbsp. of cream of tartar (optional preservative)
  • 2 tbsp. of ground cinnamon

Refer to below steps for Cinnamon salt clay recipe

  • Step 1: Measure out the above dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  • Step 2: Add 2 cups of warm water a little at a time.
  • Step 3: Stir into a dough and knead until its soft.
  • Step 4: Use cookie cutters to make shapes and objects out of it

Alternative: You can leave the shapes to dry out. Please note it may take up to a week for the clay to fully dry. You can reduce this time by putting it into a warm oven. The salt clay can then be painted and decorated.

Sensory snow

Below DIY Sensory Play Snow recipe is quick, easy, and kid-friendly. Easy Recipe for Sensory Snow Play at home or preschool.

  • Step 1: You have to Pour one box of baking soda into a mixing bowl.
  • Step 2: Add 1/2 cup of white hair conditioner. Mix the baking soda and hair conditioner together until the snow is soft.
  • Step 3: Add a sprinkle of silver or blue glitter (optional).
  • Step 4: Add small rocks and animals to create an Arctic habitat.

Alternative: For toddlers you can use water instead of hair conditioner.

Please seek medical attention immediately if this snow is consumed.

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About The Author:

Suzanne Hieke

Suzanne Hieke has been an educator for over 25 years specializing in Early Childhood Education and children’s music and movement. Suzanne is the author of Hatchling Curriculum, lessons for children ages 3-6.

Last Updated: Thu Nov 24 2022

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